Winning the Battle Against Daily Distractions
I love daily routines. For me, having a set of habits and to-do projects waiting to be tackled helps me feel grounded when the world’s events are in turmoil. And more importantly, daily routines keep my mind focused on things other than my ALS.
What I don’t love are disruptions, interruptions, and the inevitable challenges, both big and small, that chip away at my patience, energy, and precious time. Everything from emails to news stories and nearby conversations have the potential to throw my focus off.
But I have a few trusty strategies I rely on that help me navigate my day’s ups and downs, including a new mental game that I’m eager to share with you.
How interruptions affect our health
We all want control over our life, how it unfolds, and what we choose to do.
Stress reduction experts agree that our perceived quality of life is related to the amount of control we feel we have over our lives.
Lack of control can lead to feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and depression. This not only is experienced by ALS patients but also their caregivers as well.
Routines are good, but they don’t last forever
Sometimes it’s not the fault of the interruptions, but the routine that needs to be changed. As I wrote in the column “Evaluating What’s Working in My Life, and What’s Not,” I stop and take a good look at what I’m doing, and how I’m doing it.
Living with ALS, I’ve learned that my symptoms may progress without me noticing the change. Rather than depend on a potential unsafe workaround, I’m willing to invent a better and safer routine, even if it means I’ll get less done at one time.
Self-care minis to the rescue
It’s amazing how taking several slow deep breaths, adjusting my body posture, and resting my eyes can fill me with restful energy. Soon I’m ready to continue on.
‘Dagmar,’ the movie
My husband and I enjoy an evening watching the latest streaming movies. Often, we’ll get hooked on a series, with each episode ending with a cliff-hanger. Well, that’s the frame of my new mental game. When the day is filled with challenges, I imagine myself starring in my own hero movie.
For example, I’ll think, “In today’s episode, our hero, Dagmar, will attempt to finish writing her weekly column despite facing numerous, unexpected emails needing immediate replies, a husband needing help with his computer, and a neighbor stopping by to chat. Will she complete her tasks?”
Then I spend the day looking forward to all the ways life is putting me to the test. If I don’t get everything accomplished, I know there’s always time for another episode tomorrow.
Disruptions, interruptions, and challenges will continue to come and go throughout our days. If we find ways to remain in control, practice self-care, and even go as far as pretending our life is a movie, we can navigate the challenges of living well while we live with ALS.
Note: ALS News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of ALS News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to ALS.